Industry Seeks Opportunities For Agricultural Exports In Indo-Pacific
U.S. dairy and agricultural groups are calling on the Biden administration to use the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) to help expand opportunities for U.S. exports in that region.
Earlier this year, the Congressional Research Service reported that the United States has held exploratory talks on IPEF with Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, although no determination has been made on the framework’s participants. This week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai also met with trade ministers from Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea to discuss a range of global trade issues.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, Tai and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan expressed a “shared commitment to building a free, fair, open, interconnected, resilient, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.” Additionally, they agreed on the importance of working closely together to deliver a “high ambition Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that strengthens economic cooperation and reflects the shared realities of our new economy.”
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 87 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter calling on Tai and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make agriculture a priority in the IPEF. The letter was led by Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif.., Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, Jim Costa, D-Calif., Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa.
The members of Congress in the letter called on the administration to use IPEF to address barriers to U.S. agricultural exports, create mutually agreed-upon regulatory reforms that would benefit U.S. dairy and other agricultural products, include efforts to reduce tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports and more.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) praised the bipartisan letter.
“These members of Congress have their fingers on the pulse of the agricultural economy, which in turn supports so much of rural America,” says Krysta Harden, president and CEO, USDEC. “Dairy farmers and manufacturers need a framework that lives up to the recommendations laid out in this letter, ensuring America’s dairy industry — from farmers to workers to manufacturers — is able to compete fairly and efficiently in fast-growing markets across Asia and the Pacific.”
Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, notes that American dairy farmers and their cooperatives rely strongly on exports, which is why it’s essential that the administration focus on tackling global barriers that stand in the way of these.
“Consumers around the world are hungry for dairy, and our industry is eager to better meet that demand, unburdened by trade barriers and tariffs,” Mulhern says. “But for that to happen, we need effective economic engagement with key trading partners, just as these members of Congress envision.”
USDEC notes Southeast Asia is one of the largest export destinations for U.S. dairy exports, and sales in that region grew by 11% last year despite headwinds caused by supply chain issues and tariff disadvantages in key markets. South Korea and Japan round out the top 10 markets for U.S. dairy products and saw growth rates of 15% and 17%, respectively, in 2021, making clear these markets are priorities for U.S. dairy, USDEC adds.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) also stressed the importance of using IPEF to grow U.S. ag exports in comments submitted to this week’s House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee hearings on the president’s 2022 trade policy agenda.
AFBF notes that U.S. farmers and ranchers rely on export markets for more than 20% of agricultural production. While IPEF is a strong start toward improving relationships and reaching new agreements with the region’s countries, AFBF says it also should include a strategy of creating binding commitments and improving market access for agriculture through reduced tariffs.
“Trade is critically important to the current prosperity of U.S. farmers and ranchers. American agriculture depends on growing and stable export markets for success of their business,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall.
“We need a continuing focus by the administration on removing trade barriers to our agricultural products and expanding market access to American goods throughout the world, especially in the Indo-Pacific region,” he adds.
AFBF also encourages the Biden administration to build on relationships with China that were strengthened by the U.S.-China phase one agreement, resume trade negotiations between the United States and United Kingdom to resolve non-science-based barriers to agricultural exports, and work toward increased transparency in the World Trade Organization through an improved notification process.
In her testimony at this week’s hearings, Tai highlighted successes and goals in the president’s trade agenda to re-align the U.S.-China trade relationship, engage with key trading partners and multilateral institutions, and promote confidence in trade policy through enforcement. She also spoke about advancing a worker-centered trade policy and promoting equitable, inclusive and durable trade policy while expanding stakeholder engagement.
Keep Up To Date On Cheese Industry News
Find all of HART Design & Manufacturing current industry news here.